Kidambi Srikanth stunned by Nishimoto in the opening round of Badminton World Championships

Former World No.1 Kidambi Srikanth was eliminated from the 2023 Badminton World Championships in the very first round on Monday. Srikanth exited the tournament after a straight games’ loss to Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto, who crushed him 14-21, 14-21 in just 47 minutes. Indian shuttler Srikanth, who had a 6-3 lead over 14th seed Nishimoto, was unable to hold on after leading in the opening set at the midway point. Srikanth led the first game 11-9 at the break. The second half of the first game saw an extraordinary turnaround of fortunes as Nishimoto patiently worked his way into the match.

Nishimoto forced mistakes from the Indian shuttler and won the first game 14-21. Nishimoto raced out to an 11-6 lead in the second game. Srikanth displayed strong net play, leaving commentators asking why he hadn’t brought Nishimoto to the nets more often. India, the former world number one, was unable to hold serve for lengthy periods of time and lost 14-21.

Srikanth was India’s sole men’s singles player to be eliminated in the tournament’s first round. Earlier in the day, HS Prannoy defeated Kalle Koljonen 24-22, 21-10, while Lakshya Sen easily defeated Georges Julien Paul 21-12, 21-7. Prannoy, ranked world no.9 and quarterfinalist in the last two editions, extended his winning streak over the Finnish shuttler to 3-0.

Sen, the current Commonwealth Games champion, dominated his match against Paul, winning the opener in just 25 minutes, emulating Prannoy’s advancement to the next round. Sen, who won bronze in the last event, will play Korea’s Jeon Hyeok Jin in the second round, while Prannoy will next face Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo of Indonesia.

The game between Prannoy and Koljonen was exciting, with both players displaying tactical prowess and devotion. The winner of their nail-biting duel was determined by effortless backhand blocks and courageous cross-court smashes. Prannoy, the Indian ace, lead the Finnish player with 12 match points and advanced to the second round. Similarly, Sen handled his opponent, Paul, with ease. Despite Paul’s efforts to close the scoring lead, Sen maintained control of the match and delivered a dominant performance.

Former champion PV Sindhu will lock horns with Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in the second round. Meanwhile, the Indian mixed doubles shuttlers Rohan Kapoor and N Sikki Reddy were eliminated from the tournament after losing to Scotland’s Adam Hall and Julie Macpherson in a nearly hour-long match.